Safe harvest: Keep your farm fire-free

Harvest season isn’t only busy, it’s fleeting. You’ve got a lot of work to do in a short time, which could lead to carelessness and accidents. Fire hazards are already plentiful on the farm, but during harvest, they multiply. Dry crops and chaff are a threat to fields, barns, combines, and other heavy farm equipment. So how do you get through harvest safely with your farm and family intact?

Fields and equipment

The Iowa State Extension has put together a list of safety precautions to help make your harvest safe and bountiful.

  • Carry a minimum of two Class ABC fire extinguishers: a smaller 10-pound unit in the cab and a larger 20-pound extinguisher at ground level on the combine. Give the extinguishers a shake once or twice a season to make sure the retardant inside is not compacted.
  • Have an additional extinguisher on each motorized piece of equipment used in the field.
  • Check engine fluid levels (such as coolant and oil) at the beginning of each day.
  • Blow leaves, dust, and chaff off the engine with compressed air or a leaf blower. Older combines can be particularly susceptible to collecting debris.
  • Make sure exhaust and other hot surfaces are free of combustible material, too.
  • If your equipment has a turbocharger shaft, check the pressurized oil-supply line to that shaft for areas that may rub from wear and start an oil leak.
  • If field welding on equipment is necessary, wet down the area under and around the implement first.

Barns

A barn can be a tinder box — especially in the wintertime when heating devices are used — because so much of its contents are flammable. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has created a barn safety checklist to help you practice good fire prevention “hygiene” during harvest.

Some highlights:

  • Heat lamps and space heaters should be kept a safe distance from anything flammable and should be sitting on a sturdy, balanced surface.
  • Make sure all wiring is in good condition.
  • Store feed, hay, straw, and flammable liquids in a different building.
  • Keep machinery and electrical and heat sources clear of cobwebs, dust, and grain dust.
  • Make sure exits are clearly marked and hold regular fire drills with everyone who uses the barn.

For more information, you can download a complete copy of the NFPA’s barn safety checklist.

Get your farm covered

Contact a Grinnell Mutual agent today to make sure your farm — from the buildings themselves to the stuff you keep in them — is protected by Grinnell Mutual’s customizable farm coverage.

The information included in this publication was obtained from sources believed to be reliable, however Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company and its employees make no guarantee of results and assume no liability in connection with any training, materials, suggestions, or information provided. It is the user’s responsibility to confirm compliance with any applicable local, state or federal regulations. Information obtained from or via Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company should not be used as the basis for legal advice or other advice, but should be confirmed with alternative sources.